Every time I redesign a website I learn something new. Lately, I’ve been asking myself “Is a redesign worth it?”. It takes time away from creating content, building relationships (links), etc.
I’ve come to the conclusion there are three main reasons to redesign a website.
If you surf the Net a lot or have visited Vincent Flanders’ Web Pages that Suck, you know that there are thousands of websites that are in desperate need of being redesigned. The main reason? They are hard to use. If you website is hard to use then it is time to redesign. How do you know if you website is not user friendly? Ask yourself the following questions:
-Is your navigation clear?
-Are links easily discernible?
-Can users find their way back to your home page? (it is surprising how many corporate websites fail to provide such a simple mechanism)
-Can readers easily discern content from advertising? I don’t intend to rankle rankle all the internet marketers out there, but the point is usability helps bring visitors back to your site. Sites that are literally littered with advertising and the content is squished in the middle are very hard to read.
A subset of usability is readability, the second reason a redesign should be considered. A total website redesign may not be necessary. A simple font change maybe all that is needed. Consider the size of the font, the type of font, the clarity of the font, and the contrast between background and font. There is no clearer (and readable) contrast than black on white. Create a website that is easy on the eyes.
Third, and finally, consider redesigning if you are seeking to brand (or rebrand) your website. A distinct look connected to your company or website helps improve branding efforts. For most beginners this is not an issue. However, if your website gains traction, it may be necessary. Often times, if redesign considerations get to this level, professional web designers should be employed.
So, before you tinker with your website, consider whether a redesign is worth the effort. You maybe able to get away with simpler basic designs for a much longer time especially if your content is extremely useful.